RAICES Rejects $250,000 Donation From Salesforce Over Contract With Trump Administration

One of the largest immigration legal services non-profits in the United States has rejected a $250,000 donation from cloud computing company Salesforce after the firm refused to cancel its contract with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) said that after "careful consideration," the non-profit could not accept the contribution after Salesforce rejected employees' calls for it to end its contract with CBP over its role in enforcing the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy of separating families at the border, along with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

"After careful consideration by our staff, we have decided to decline this gift unless Salesforce commits to cancel all direct or indirect contracts with [CBP], as principled Salesforce employees have demanded," RAICES told the software company in a letter published online.

Protesters rally against the separation of immigrant families in front of a U.S. federal court on July 11, 2018 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. RAICES, an immigration non-profit, has rejected a $250,000 donation from software company Salesforce. John Moore/Getty

The non-profit said the company rejected the proposal, refusing to end its contract with CBP.

RAICES said that "instead of canceling its contract and withdrawing supporting technology from CBP, the company pledged $1 million to 'help families affected by the Trump administration policy.'"

The $250,000 donation it offered to RAICES was part of that $1 million.

After @salesforce workers asked their CEO @Benioff to commit to canceling the Salesforce contract with CBP, the company responded by offering us a $250k donation.

We responded on Monday by telling them we won’t accept the donation until they #CancelTheContract

They refused. pic.twitter.com/Hx0e6l8LEy

— RAICES (@RAICESTEXAS) July 19, 2018

RAICES said that even $1 million could not buy a clear conscience for the corporation, asserting that "when it comes to supporting oppressive, inhumane and illegal policies, we want to be clear: The only right action is to stop."

"The software and technical services you provide to CBP form part of the foundation that helps ICE operate efficently, from recruiting more officers to managing vendors," RAICES told CBP in its letter.

The non-profit said that while Salesforce has tried to justify maintaining the contract by claiming its software "isn't working with CBP regarding the separation of families at the border," RAICES dismissed the excuse, saying: "Your software provides an operational backbone for the agency and thus does directly support CBP in implementing its inhumane and immoral policies."

"There is no way around this and there is no room for hair splitting when children are being brutally torn away from parents, when a mother attempts suicide in an effort to get her children released and when an 18-month-old baby is separated from their mother in detention."

RAICES said Salesforce's decision to pledge a small portion of the money it makes from CBP contracts "will not distract" critics from its decision to continue its "support for this agency."

"We will not be a beneficiary of your effort to buy your way out of ethical responsibility," the non-profit added.

Too many nonprofits sell out their mission to fund their advocacy so nothing but respect for @RAICESTEXAS for their principled stance. I'm donating to them right now: https://t.co/GG9J9fVHzX

And @salesforce: don't facilitate the oppressive policies of CBP, #CancelTheContract https://t.co/xeYxj5lNN2

— Chema Hernández Gil (@elsanfranciscan) July 19, 2018

Supporters have since applauded RAICES for its fortitude, with activist Chema Hernandez Gil writing on Twitter: "Too many non-profits sell out their mission to fund their advocacy, so nothing but respect for RAICES for their principled stance. I'm donating to them right now."

Salesforce is among a number of companies that have faced pressure over their contracts with government agencies like CBP and ICE, including Google, Microsoft and Amazon.

Marc Benioff, the CEO of the software company, said earlier this month on Twitter that Salesforce is "true to our core values," stating it does not "work with CBP regarding separation of families."

Salesforce always will be true to our core values. We dont work with CBP regarding separation of families. CBP is a customer & follows our TOS. We dont have an agreement with ICE. I’m Proud of the Men & Women who protect & serve our country every day & I’m Proud of our Ohana.

— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) July 8, 2018

"CBP is a customer and follows our [terms of service,]" he said, adding: "We don't have an agreement with ICE."

The CEO also touted Salesforce's decision to donate $1 million to organizations helping families separated at the border, saying he was "proud" of the employees who made their "voices heard."

Salesforce has not immediately responded to a request for comment.